Last week we traveled with our daughter to pick up our granddaughter Maren from camp in northern Minnesota. Maren, along with two other twelve year old girls and their two counselors, both young women starting their sophomore year of college, had been canoeing in the Boundary Waters for ten days.
We were quite certain she would love the experience, but still, we were relieved to learn that was the case. In fact, she thrived, and while she was eager to see her family, she joyfully told us she could have stayed on trail longer and can hardly wait till next summer when the trip will be longer, about sixteen days.
Part of the reunion was a demonstration with one of the canoes they used, a wood and canvas canoe weighing about 75 pounds. I was in awe of Maren's strength as she balanced that canoe on her shoulders. She stood firmly, her two feet on the ground and moved with confidence and assurance. She knows her strength.
She is a warrior woman, empowered, determined, and yes, strong.
Sometimes what is required is outer strength, the kind of strength needed to portage six times in one day, as Maren and her fellow campers proudly described. It is our inner spiritual strength, however, that allows us to access the physical strength to do what needs to be done. Julia Cameron says, "As a spirit I am healthy…My spiritual energies fund my physical self with support and sustenance."
And how does one develop that inner spiritual strength? That's where an ongoing spiritual practice enters the picture. Not only is a spiritual practice the means for opening to the presence of the God in your life, but a spiritual practice strengthens you for the journey, the unknown and unexpected.
Now is the time to make room for strength building in your life.
A Suggested Spiritual Practice: Standing Meditation
If possible, practice Standing Meditation outside, standing on the earth. Stand with your two feet shoulder width apart, your knees slightly bent, and your arms and hands loosely at your sides. Close your eyes lightly, not tightly. Breathe evenly, finding your own rhythm.
Feel the energy of the earth reach to the bottom of your feet and move up your legs and through your torso and all the way to the top of your head. Feel your own energy reach into the earth. Breathe steadily and evenly, noticing how your body grows in strength. In possibility. In vitality.
Stand this way first for five minutes, if you are able, and with time build to fifteen minutes. Do this either inside or outside.
As you practice Standing Meditation, become open to your own inner warrior. You may feel more grounded and discover your own strength. May you feel more able to hoist a heavy and unwieldy canoe on your shoulders and face the oncoming challenges with strength.
In what ways are you strong and what does being strong mean to you? How have you built your strength? I would love to know.
Stay Tuned: I will continue to explore the gift of strength in my post on Thursday, August 20.